x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Man arrested 10 years after killing 60-year-old woman, police say

A man who was arrested 10 years after killing a 60-year-old woman in her home says he was relieved after finally being caught, police said.

DUBAI // A man has been arrested ten years after killing a 60-year-old Emirati woman in a failed robbery attempt, police say.

The 51-year-old defendant, who has a Comoros Islands passport, told police he was relieved to be caught after carrying around the burden of guilt for a decade.

"I didn't even like to come to Dubai because it would remind me of what I had done," the Sharjah resident told investigators after he was arrested in the emirate following a tip from Dubai Police.

Lt Col Ahmad Al Merri, head of criminal investigations at Dubai Police, said today that the victim had lived alone after her husband died. She had no children and resided next to the killer's aunt in Al Satwa area.

The victim had frequently given money to the poor, leading the defendant to believe that she was rich, police said.

"He heard about her good deeds and decided to rob her," Lt Col Al Merri said.

The man, who has not been identified, broke into her small house one night in September 2002 and was searching for valuables to steal when the victim confronted him in her living room, according to police.

"I didn't feel like myself and surrounded her neck with my hands as she was screaming for help," the defendant told investigators.

He said he did not let go of her until she died, police said. Neighbours found her dead the next afternoon.

"She used to open her house for neighbours' gatherings since morning and that day she did not," Lt Col Al Merri said.

Police were notified about the murder, and forensics reports concluded the cause of death was strangulation. A safe was found on the floor unopened, but with signs of force on it, indicating that someone had tried to open it but had failed.

Many suspects were interrogated, but the killer, who worked as a driver at Al Qasimi Hospital in Sharjah, was not among them, according to police.

When he was arrested, the defendant said he had been left empty-handed after failing to open the safe with a number of keys he had found at the victim's house.

He was referred to Dubai Public Prosecution on Monday.